Connections #rhizo15

Thinking about connections in #rhizo15. Do we feel connected? Are we connected?



Connections are in so much different qualities.
Is/are #rhizo15 a community, a collective, a group, a bunch, a collection, band, crowd, commitee, public? Are these words connected with the level of connectivity?

Darren Jones added:


#rhizo15 and Jürgen Habermas

pinksterblomMessy things in #rhizo15, and a text of Jürgen Habermas connect to some rhizomatic (?) “Mode of communication”.

Habermas: … With the performative attitude that we should take as we  want to discuss something , every speaker is (certainly not traditionally been utilized in an articulated manner) the possibility to use  the ‘I/me’ of the illocutionary act to use in such a way, to impose the understandable requirement that I/me as an individual, who is taking my own history/story of life irreplaceable as my own,  is being recognized as a person.
At the same time  alter as well as ego know, while consulting with each other on the universality of a propositional subject, that they are part of the very special context of their environment.

(my translation from p. 151 of a Dutch book with some texts and speeches of Habermas: Na-metafysisch denken (Jürgen Habermas) 1990.

It is the recognition as a person that is at the heart of (rhizomatic) teaching.

The academic way of conceptualization of data and of personal stories is in my view an almost metaphysical discourse. In these almost metaphysical discourses (in education) inter-subjectivity is  damaged.

The question is now: Is the academic discourse on education useful  in some way?  Should academic discourses on education and teaching as a rule take in account the inter-subjectivity and the importance of the informal and personal sphere?


Letter to a new student in #rhizo15 or the next course

Confucius_Tang_Dynasty不要緊,你怎麼去慢慢地,只要你不停止。 (It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.Confucius)


Remember, the only student at Unseen University anybody remembers and likes is Rincewind. And you know what? He failed his exams. Rincewind is a wizard with no skill, no wizardly qualifications.

What do you think of that?


Dear student,

Now is the big moment.
As a new open learning or Mooc student you will need these:

Gumption & perseverance

Because the start will be disappointing and the fellow students will not seem very helpful (you need to know and consider they are also new to the course). You need passion and commitment. Remember in dark and depressing moments why the course is funny and why you want to learn. Write a blogpost about your passion and commitment and gumption and perseverance to remember in hard times.

Surprise us with your skills and knowledge, your jokes and music and poems.
Knowledge and skills of social media. The internet is loaded with courses and help pages about almost anything. You could help fellow students improve their skills.
Know the facts. write down the course URLs and hashtags, know the places and times. Put the facts in a blogpost to remember them.
Asking Questions. Ask questions. If you do not ask questions you will fail.
Be your own master and teacher. Open learning is for grown-ups, for independent humans. If you are in doubt, start and try, this will be a new learning theme for you in this course. Write and publish something about that.
Connect to fellow students, retweet; use hashtags; answer tweets even from students you do not know. You know that a comment on your blog or an answer on twitter or facebook  is a pleasure and a reward, be generous with comments and answers. You are not alone and you do really need these fellow students. And do connect to people outside the course, make them join. Discuss the course with people around you.
Publish. Blog and reblog, write comment on blogs. Leave your web address on blogs. Publish your blogpost on twitter or facebook or any other platform. Because learning is connecting.


changing small group Roles into rhizoroles #rhizo15

Group ActivityBenne and Sheats (1948) identified three broad types of roles people play in small groups: task roles, building and maintenance roles, and self-centered roles.
I play with these roles to think about rules and roles in rhizomatic learning.
Group culture (even rhizomatic group culture?) needs facilitating and guiding, but who will do that if the teacher (as a dominant group role) is not in the course? Maybe we could co-faciltate each other with sufficient openness to difference? (question of Frances Bell in a tweet) Is this co-facilitating really possible or is it the ‘fundamental cognitive error

Task Roles: Focus is on completing group’s goal

Coordinator: Relates statements made
by one group member
to another group member

Energizer: Stimulates group
to take action

Expands upon
another’s ideas

Assesses the group’s
work by higher standards

Provides helpful

Asks for

Recorder: Keep notes (minutes)
about a meeting

Procedural Technician:
for tasks

Group-Building/Maintenance Roles
Focus is on building interpersonal relationships, maintaining harmony

positive feedback

Accepts ideas of others in group

Attempts to reach a solution everyone finds acceptable

Facilitates participation
from everyone in group

Reduces conflict and tension
(often through humor)

group progress

Acts antagonistic
other group members
and their ideas

Monopolizes group
speaking time

Refuses to cooperate with other’s ideas

Acts helpless to avoid work

Avoids work

Special Interest Advocate:
Presents own viewpoint
and needs

Self-confessor: Discusses topics only of importance to self and not the group

Coordinator: Relates statements made by a group member to another statement from outside the group.

Energizer: Stimulates group to bring activity from outside into the group.

Elaborator: Expands upon another’s ideas and relates to ideas found outside the group.

Evaluator-critic: Assesses the group’s work by higher standards compares with the outside world.

Information-giver: Provides helpful information from outside the course, the group.

Information-seeker: Asks for clarification, and for connection to other sources of information.

Recorder: Keep notes about meeting and blogs about that.

Procedural Technician: Takes responsibility for tasks and asks members to connect to the outside world.

Group-Building/Maintenance Roles
Focus is on building interpersonal relationships, maintaining harmony

Encourager: Provides positive feedback if new connections are made

Follower: Accepts ideas of others and of new persons in the group

Compromiser: Attempts to discuss broadly when inside and outside views do cause disruption

Gatekeeper: Facilitates participation from everyone in group and from outsiders

Harmonizer: Reduces conflict and tension (often through humor) and looks for inspiration outside.

Observer: Evaluates group progress and has special care for openness and connectivity to outside.

Aggressor: Acts antagonistic and disruptive towards other group members and their ideas by introducing outside voices and ideas.

Dominator: Monopolizes group speaking time and tries to close the group for outsiders.

Blocker: Refuses to cooperate with other’s ideas if these are closing the group from outside.

Help-Seeker: Acts helpless to make the group open and rhizomatic

Loafer: Avoids work, and refuses looking outside the inner circle.

Special Interest Advocate: Presents own viewpoint and needs, and does not help to keep an open group

Self-confessor: Discusses topics only of importance to self and not the group

Rhizomatic learning, group think and connections in #rhizo15


To learn rhizomatic one needs connections.
The more connections the better, because knowledge and learning is in the connections. *)
That is why I strongly agree with people who do connect discussions on facebook with those on twitter. This is a very connective and rhizomatic idea. Open up the group and add new connections.

Daniel Clark shares some knowledge about open and closes group processes:  The American psychologist Irving Janis (Janis, I. (1972). Victims of Groupthink: a Psychological Study of Foreign-Policy Decisions and Fiascoes. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.) developed the concept of “groupthink” to describe irrational and even dangerous decision-making that can take place within closed groups. . Makes me think of the secret history of Donna Tartt.

This group think is a danger to rhizomatic learning. A mass of New connections are necessary to open up new views and knowledge. Rhizomatic learning seems to be a rather creative learning process and not a conservative learning process.

Mariana Funes wrote a very interesting blog on this group think

*) This note is added November 2016, after reading . as a comment on that blogpost. More connections are a means to avoid groupthink. I need to stress that my point of view should be clear here. I am writing as a student and a member of different groups and networks and not as a member of one group.
So if in #rhizo15 a student is tempted to join the crowd and the groupthink, other connections (colleagues, friends, books, and of course teachers.) could help to avoid group think.
I do agree on the dangers of an in-group. You say that massive connection is a potential way to avoid the danger. This obscures the issue that if an in-group exists, then newcomers may not be forthcoming or may come into the group and leave without influencing it.


Critical rationalism or postmodernism in #rhizo15 learning

fietsCould a (critical) rational person engage in rhizomatic learning?
Critical rationalism is a philosophy  that views upon post-modernism as a wrong method of thinking. (To put it mildly) (as do for instance Alan Sokal, Jean Bricmond and Juergen Habermas)

Does one have to be a believer of Deleuze to study rhizomatic learning?
For critical views on Deleuze :Slavoj Žižek, Organs without Bodies (2003), Pascal Engel, “The Decline and Fall of French Nietzscheo-Structuralism” (1994) and others.

Is authority of teachers a necessity in teaching?

Could one teach (rhizomatically or other way) if one does not master the subject? Or as a teacher asked me: Could one teach digital citizenship if not a user of digital media?

Obscurantism abuses the reader’s natural sense of curiosity and interpretive charity with the promise of deep and profound insights about a designated subject matter that is often vague or elusive. When the attempt to understand what the speaker means requires excessive hermeneutic efforts, interpreters are reluctant to halt their quest for meaning.

( Filip Buekens & Maarten Boudry (2015). The Dark Side of the Loon. Explaining the Temptations of Obscurantism. Theoria 81 (2):126-142. )

Underground stores. #rhizo metaphore,


In Zen and the art of motor cycle maintenance a woman asks the teacher (the I of the book) a question. She asks if he does teach quality. That woman was an underground store. She only did ask a small question and she made the story of the book happen.

Could we play the metaphor of the rhizome that far?

Rhizome is a part of a plant. The rhizome function is to collect water and minerals and other food for the plant to grow. Bacteria and lichens do assist the rhizome by preparing food for input in the rhizome.

The rhizome needs food. Dung, dead materials, minerals etc. and rhizome finds it in the ground. What is the metaphor saying about teaching and learning?

The rhizome connects the stem and flowers to the earth. Without the rhizome the plant would be blown away by the wind. Learning needs connection to a firm  ground.

A good soil with the right structure, water, food, temperature, and lots of other healthy components is needed for a healthy plant. Good learning needs a ‘ healthy’ surroundings.

Is a teacher a gardener?

#rhizo15 content overflow

contentoverflow1. We do not know the future.

2. Teaching for the future is gambling.

3. Intelligent thinking is more important than knowledge.

4. We may assume Intelligent Thinking will be important in the future.

5. Content is stuff to train and teach and learn Intelligent Thinking.

6. Intelligent Thinking and Critical thinking needs content to work.

7. Content overflow does hinder Intelligent Thinking.

Understanding measurement subjectivity #rhizo15


(My understanding of this tweet is my own. Tweets are too short to fully understand the message) In the tweet I do read Understanding is definitively subjective and is not measurable. (I leave <holistically> out, because I do not Know what holistically means in this tweet)

Questions: Is a subjective entity not measurable? Yes it is measurable. “Do you like peanut butter?” Your answer is a measurement: Yes, no, i like it very much, I love it, i hate it. It is measurement.
Is it exact and countable measurement? That is another question.

Is understanding subjective? What do you mean with <subjective>? Do you mean  Subjectivity, a subject’s personal perspective, feelings, beliefs, desires or discovery, as opposed to those made from an independent, objective, point of view?

To know if something like <understanding> is measurable we must describe what we mean with this word in a situation.

Understanding (also called intellection) is a psychological process related to an abstract or physical object, such as a person, situation, or message whereby one is able to think about it and use concepts to deal adequately with that object. Understanding is a relation between the knower and an object of understanding. Understanding implies abilities and dispositions with respect to an object of knowledge sufficient to support intelligent behavior. (Bereiter, Carl. “Education and mind in the Knowledge Age”.)

So if a person has some abilities or is able to think about it than we know there is understanding. (U = understanding; U > 0 ) We could describe some abilities that show understanding of a given object. And we could use this description to measure understanding in a context or a situation.

Measurement is not the same as counting.

the meaning of Content is “pleased” #rhizo15

trechterAs a student I was the only student reading a course on philosophy of science. We did read a book on the subject of C. West Churchman, and discussed anything that seemed connected to the subject. I do know some of the facts and opinions (is this content?) that C. West Churchman wrote. Only a little bit. But I did learn a lot about thinkung as a philosopher of science.

What I am particularly interested in is how content, however broadly defined, can develop curiosity. How what or how we learn and teach can result in questions and discovery.

I did read Mencius with a small group and a professor. We translated a piece of text at home and discussed the different translations. I did learn some classical Chinese words (I guess this is content). But the most important part I did learn to translate and read Chinese philosophy.

These are two illustrations of the un-importance of content. The important part of teaching and learning is what is done with the content.

This content-story of management is an old story about teaching as feeding small children with knowledge to become big adults.